Weddings in 2022 - back to normal?
Weddings in 2022 began for me at a brewery in Oxfordshire on a surprisingly mild and sunny day in February. The bride is the sister of the groom from a 2014 wedding I shot. Weddings in 2022 then ended on a bitterly cold day in December, in Sussex. Just twenty-four hours later the snow came. In between, there had been that ridiculously hot period in the summer. On the hottest day, I sat in stationary traffic on the M1 for over an hour, en route to a wedding. As in 2021, most weddings I shot were in Sussex and London but they ranged from Ely in Cambridgeshire (on a very hot day! Don't get the wedding cake out too early!) to the Jurassic coast in Dorset. Some were also very close to my doorstep. Unlike much of 2021, normality had pretty much returned. The odd mask-wearing for guests at times, but the dance floors were certainly full this year.
As I mentioned at the end of my 2021 review, in early 2022 I won the title of Wedding Photographer of the Year (South-East Region) in The Wedding Industry Awards. My third time winning this title. Later in 2022, I got to be a judge in contests for reportage wedding photography. Both in Photographers Keeping it Real and This is Reportage. Even being interviewed by the latter. (PODCAST Link). I also picked up a far few awards over the year too. For the second year in a row, I made the Top 100 wedding photographers in the annual list of The International Society of Wedding Photographers (ISPWP). The highest ranking of only two UK photographers that made the list this year. The annual ranking is based on awards gained over the quarterly contests.
What do awards mean? They are just markers. If they show anything, it is consistency. That is what couples should be looking for really. It's about the ability and experience to capture the right images that tell the story of a wedding day. Giving my clients the confidence that I will find the moments at their weddings like the ones they've seen on this website before. That's the main goal.
(Outside of weddings, it's also been a different year - as we hosted a Ukrainian woman and her two children for six and a half months in our house.)
Last of the Covid affected weddings
Weddings in 2022 also saw me shoot the last of my weddings that had to move from 2020 and 2021 due to the Covid pandemic. Some had originally booked me way back in 2019. In a couple of cases, two had become three since. Whereas in 2022, some people booked me with only three weeks or so to go before the wedding day. Covid hasn't gone - it finally got me in the summer, in between weddings luckily, as the mother-of-all sore throats for a few days - but life at weddings has pretty much gone back to normal. Albeit with a few venues and suppliers no longer in business.
Weddings in 2022 took place in fields, a brewery, and registry offices. Gardens, castle grounds, and luxury hotels. Several in the blistering heat that the summer of 2022 gave us. Days of yellow grass. Many saw previous couples at the weddings as guests - that word-of-mouth thing working again. Bridesmaids now the bride, brides now the bridesmaid. I also shot a wedding in the summer for the daughter of a mate I last saw back in my university days, he was doing his Ph.D. there - a whole lifetime in between. Now two of my children are studying at my old Uni (Manchester).
So let's have a few images from 2022...
Old and new wedding venues
A few weddings were to venues I have been to before. Barcombe church (last pic above), Southover Grange, Bartholomew Barn, Corfe church, South Farm, Mandarin Oriental Hotel (Knightsbridge), Great Fosters Hotel, Hever castle, South Lodge Hotel, Dartmouth House, and Chelsea Town Hall.
But most were new to me. I even got a chance to have a look around Ely on the morning of that wedding at Old Hall. The only time I had been there, or near, was many years ago photographing the Cambridge University boat crew training on the outskirts of the city, for The Times. New venues like Hook Norton Brewery, Eltham Tudor Barn, Smedmore House, Queens Club, Nymans, and Kingdom. (The latter has so many Walking Dead associations for me. If you watched the TV series, you know)
So was anything different about weddings in 2022?
Human contact was back. Okay it hadn't really gone away under the restrictions of 2020 and 2021. You can separate people as they sit for a ceremony, but human nature is what is it, especially when emotions (and alcohol) is involved. Hugging and mixing together was certainly back.
Weddings in 2023
Here's to a busy year of weddings in 2023! I have current plans to take some time out in February into March, if the plan comes together and it involves time shooting with my Leicas only, but booking after that. So if these sort of images look like a perfect fit for your wedding day please do get in touch if you are planning a wedding in 2023!
A final quote from the last bride of 2022, after she saw all her wedding images...
"Thank you so so much for these. They are absolutely perfect. We were so lucky to have you!"
But one last thing...dogs...
Dogs appeared at many weddings in 2022. Several couples had their dogs come along for part of their wedding days. Some were incredibly well behaved in marquees full of people or in a small crowded pub. Dogs are family. Watching these dogs at weddings I would think of mine. It is a feature of the weddings I shoot that they are long days, often with a long late-night drive home, and frequently having eaten little or next to nothing since breakfast. (Venues and caterers...) But there was always that greeting at the front door, a manically wagging tail, an excited friend who would sit with me as I'd unwind with a beer and start downloading the wedding image files. He was always there...
So to Joey, we miss you, we think of you all the time, and I still expect you to be there when I open the front door. It's a sad note to end this post on - it happened very suddenly, a stroke, completely out of the blue. A bouncy dog in the morning, happy as we walked across the fields under a stunning sunrise but a crippled dog in the evening, a shadow of who he was.
Why mention this here? He was part of every wedding for me. For the last ten and a half years.
He was there when I got home. Happy.
Camera Nerd fact...
That selection of wedding images: most used lenses, the 35mm and the 50mm.
The picture of my dog...an iPhone.
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